Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mullangi Podi Potta Sambar

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to post this simple recipe! I guess it is because I hardly prepare sambar using the sambar powder. I almost always prepare the arachuvitta sambar. The Podi potta sambar is always the second choice and I make it only when I am pressed for time or don’t have coconut in stock. That said, it doesn’t mean that the podi potta sambar does not taste good. But to get a good tasting Sambar you need to have a good Sambar Powder. I used to almost always buy the Sambar Powder, some brands resulted in good Sambar some were not so good. So I was always in search of a good Sambar Powder recipe and my search ended with this. And the sambar made with this powder tastes very much like the Arachuvitta Sambar minus the coconut. So here is a simple sambar recipe using radish as the main vegetable. Feel free to use the vegetable of your choice.

What you’ll need
Serves - 4
  1. Radish – 2 medium sized, cut into roundels
  2. Tamarind – small lemon sized ball
  3. Sambar Powder – 2 tbsp
  4. Tuar Dal – ½ cup
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Jaggery – 1 tsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Curry Leaves –few
  9. Coriander Leaves – 2 tbsp, finely chopped

For tempering
  1. Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

  1. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice and discard the fibers. Add 2 more cups of water to this and set aside.
  2. Pressure cook the tuar dal with a pinch of turmeric powder. Mash and keep aside.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel with oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  4. Add the radish pieces and the sambar powder, sauté for a minute on low flame taking care not to burn the sambar powder.
  5. Add the tamarind extract to this. Also add the asafoetida powder, salt and jaggery.
  6. Bring this to a boil and let it keep boiling on medium flame till the vegetable is cooked.
  7. Now add the mashed dal and mix well. Add ½ to 1 cup water depending upon the required consistency. Check for seasoning and add if required.
  8. Bring it to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  9. Remove from heat.

Serve hot with steamed rice and a vegetable of your choice.

  • Don’t reduce the amount of dal, as we don’t add coconut in this sambar.
  • Adding jaggery is optional.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sambar Powder/ Homemade Sambar Podi

Sambar is a quintessential dish in any South Indian household. Sambar to me is almost always the arachutvitta sambar. It is very rarely that I prepare the Podi potta Sambar, so I usually get a packet of sambar podi from the market or sometimes even use my Rasam Podi as a substitute. I had a couple of requests to post Sambar Podi recipe. So here is a recipe, which I got from one of my aunts who is a great cook herself. This sambar podi is very easy to prepare, very aromatic and the Sambar turns out very delicious.

There are many variations of the sambar podi in the net. I have seen most recipes using cumin, black pepper. This recipe makes use of only 5 ingredients. I always prefer to make it in smaller batches so that the podi is fresh and fragrant.

What you’ll need
  1. Coriander Seeds – 1 cup
  2. Red Chillies – 3 cup
  3. Channa Dal/Bengal gram dal – ½ cup
  4. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ cup
  5. Turmeric stick/virali manjal – 2 sticks

  1. Dry roast the red chillies till they turn crisp.
  2. Roast the channa dal till it turns golden.
  3. Roast the fenugreek seeds till they start popping.
  4. Roast the coriander seeds till a nice aroma comes.
  5. Finally roast the turmeric for 1 or 2 minutes.
  6. Roughly powder the turmeric using a mortar and pestle.
  7. Cool all the ingredients and grind to a fine powder in the mixie.
  8. Transfer to a plate and spread it. Cool completely and transfer to bottle.

  1. If you don’t get whole turmeric you can replace it with about 4 tbsp of turmeric powder.
  2. No need to roast the turmeric powder.
  3. Take care not to burn the ingredients while roasting.
  4. Roast on medium flame and keep stirring to avoid burning.
  5. Always use dry spoon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Badam Halwa / Almond Halwa – Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging

It has been 5 years since I started blogging, and it has been a wonderful experience. Blogging, which started as a hobby is now a passion. Though, I have taken quite a few breaks, few long ones too, but I could never stay completely away from the blog. I owe this to my lovely readers, friends and my family. Big thanks to one and all for all your love and support.

I wanted to do a special post to mark this milestone, in my blogging journey. What better way to celebrate than with a sweet. Badam Halwa is one of my favorite sweets. This sweet was one among my grandfather’s signature recipes. Almost every year for Diwali, he used to prepare a fairly large quantity of this halwa and me and my brother used to gorge it. This halwa is a big hit with my kids. Both my girls love it.

This halwa is mildly sweet, with a rich flavor of saffron and ghee. Ghee is a very important part of this recipe and one should not compromise on it. Do try it and let me know how it turned out.

What you’ll need
  1. Almonds/Badam – ½ cup, heaped
  2. Sugar – ½ cup, heaped
  3. Ghee – 1/3 cup
  4. Saffron – a fat pinch
  5. Milk – ½ cup enough to grind the badam and to soak the saffron
  6. Yellow food color – just a little (optional)

  1. Soak the badam in hot water for 2 hours. Peel the almonds.
  2. Grind the almonds with just enough milk into a smooth paste. You can keep it slightly coarse if you like.
  3. Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk. Keep aside.
  4. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, or a non stick kadai, add the sugar and ¼ cup of water, let the sugar dissolve completely.
  5. Now add the ground badam paste and start stirring. Add the soaked saffron milk too. Add the food color also if using.
  6. Keep stirring on medium heat, start adding the ghee at regular intervals, whenever you feel the mixture is sticking to the bottom add the ghee.
  7. At one stage, the mixture will start leaving the sides and you will start seeing white frothy bubbles. This is the right stage to stop. Switch off the heat and keep stirring for some more time.
  8. One it cools slightly take a small portion and try to roll it, if you can make a ball then the consistency is right.
  9. Transfer to a vessel, cool and store.

  1. When the halwa is hot, it will be a little runny and sticky, once it cools, it will become thicker and non sticky.
  2. If on cooling, it doesn’t thicken enough and is still sticky then the amount of ghee added is not enough and also it requires a little more stirring. So stir for some more time.
  3. Adding food color is completely optional.
  4. To get a good texture and shiny halwa, amount of ghee is very important.

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